"In the woods is perpetual youth" - Emerson

GUIDED HIKES: 1-2 north of NYC, 2-3 hours west of Boston (click here)

Pine Knob Loop

Hiking Tours



  Suggest a hike

Difficulty: Moderate or Strenuous

Main Attractions: Great vistas and views, dense forest, fly fishing, whiter water rafting, Cornwall Bridge.

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Nearby Hikes:
Breadloaf Mountain
Mohawk State Park
Kent Falls State Park

Pine Knob Loop is one of those easily accessible trails that offers a peaceful forest walk and a hearty hike up two separate peaks.  If you're the type that likes to pull your car off the main through-way and bounce up a mountain or two, this is your place.  The 2.5 mile Loop main entrance is right off of Route 7 in Cornwall.  The hike through here is primarily a forest view.  There are couple of really nice vistas along the way and you should sit and rest at these points and take in the view.  The best view on the path is the one overlooking the Housatonic Meadows State Park/campground (you can actually drive up to the state park instead of parking at Pine Loop entrance and walk across Route 7 and over to the woods. You'll see a path going in and this also leads up to the aforementioned peak).  The view is mostly southeast and you get a classic rolling hills, river valley scene as the hills rise above the Housatonic River.  (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn would have loved a spot like this.)  The campground and cars proceeding on Rt 7 look like miniatures from this vantage point as the world you just came from takes on a whole different perspective from here.   (If you just want this view/hike, park you car at the Housatonic Meadows campground at the ranger's station which is just off Route 7 and a few minutes north of the Pine Knob Loop main trail entrance.  Once you've parked in the campground walk across 7 and through a short field to find the trail markings.)   If you do the whole loop you will have climbed up two peaks, 1,120 ft. and 1,160 ft.

Near by attractions include fly-fishing on the Housatonic which can be accessed right across the street from the Pine Loop parking lot. (Careful crossing Rt. 7 to access the Housatonic River. It's very dangerous with a deceptive curve that makes it hard to gauge if there's a car coming or not. Route 7 traffic travels from 40-60 m.p.h here. Use your ears as much as your eyes before crossing the street. Never take your eyes off of small children if they are near the road.)  Right up the road from Pine Knob Loop is Cornwall Covered Bridge which is an historical landmark and offers some wonderful views of the Housatonic as it flows through town.

The vistas from Pine Knob are perfect for watching a chicken hawk or turkey vulture ride the thermals throughout the day in search of their next meal.  Lie back and take a rest; it's likely one of these guys will buzz close by as their eyesight is unbelievable and they're always checking out their environment. (Years ago, my brother and I took two cousins visiting from Texas up this trail.  As we sat at the top and looked out over the valley, we heard what we thought was a lear jet coming a little to close to the mountain.  All of us became more than a little concerned as this sound came at us fast and furiously.  I honestly believed that a plane was crashing into the mountain and just as I was about to dive for cover I saw a hawk or falcon with its wings drawn back looking like a missile.  It exploded past us and crashed into an unsuspecting bird or rabbit.  It happened so fast that I couldn't tell what prey it had hunted.  To this day, I've never experienced a wild animal moment like that again. Unbelievable! I had never known that hawks made such an amazing, powerful sound as they dived for their prey.

Directions: Take Rt. 7 north to Cornwall.  At the junction of Rt 4 and Rt 7, continue on Rt. 7 north for one mile.  The sign for Pine Knob Loop is on the left hand side.  Go slowly because it's easy to drive by the dirt parking lot which accesses the trail head.  If you have problems proceed to the The Housatonic Meadows State Park campground which is about a 1/2 mile up from Pine Knob and ask the ranger about the trail.   ( You can also try Mapquest.com for custom directions. )

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